LIMA — President Barack Obama declared Americans need a champion for their causes and interests in Washington, D.C. and more work needs to be done on Capitol Hill to move the United States forward.
Obama addressed approximately 3,000 people gathered Friday afternoon in the gymnasium at Lima Senior High School, the third stop in a whirlwind one-day trip in Ohio, to rally Democrats with the election four days away.
“We’ve made real progress these past four years,” Obama said, listing his accomplishments the past four years such as saving two of the American auto giants, ending the war in one nation, killing Osama bin Laden, spurring more housing starts and creating 5.5 million ending with the fact the October employment numbers showed the largest increase in eight months. “But the reason all of you are here today (Friday), the reason I’m here today (Friday), is because we know we’ve got more work to do.
“As long as there’s a single American who wants a job but can’t find one, our work is not done,” the president said as he worked to sway voters to defeat Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. “As long as there are families working harder but falling behind, as long as there’s a child anywhere in this country who is languishing in poverty, barred from opportunity, our fight goes on. We are not finished yet. We’ve got more work to do.”
To have the chance to continue that fight and to work on those problems is the reason, Obama said, he is seeking a second term as president.
Obama shared he often reads letters each night from Americans and meets Americans on the campaign trail who need a champion in the nation’s capital to battle the lobbyists and the PACs who have a seat at the table with America’s richest, who yield their influence with Congress.
“The restaurant owner who needs a loan to expand after the bank turned him down — he needs a champion,” Obama told the crowd, many holding light blue signs with his name across them. “The cooks and the waiters, and the cleaning staff working overtime in some Vegas hotel, trying to save enough to buy a first home or send their kids to college — they need a champion. The autoworker who was laid off and never thought he’d go back to the line again, and then suddenly was called back in, and is now building a great car, filling him with pride and dignity — he needs a champion.
“All those kids in inner cities and small farm towns, and the rolling Virginia hills, or the valleys of Ohio, or right here in Lima,” he said, “kids dreaming of becoming doctors and scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs and diplomats, and maybe even a President — they need a champion in Washington, because they’re our future.”
In a key election state tied closely to the automotive industry, Obama hammered away at the differences between his decision for the automotive bailout, which was unpopular with some even in Ohio and Michigan, and Romney’s approach to let General Motors and Chrysler file for bankruptcy.
He then attacked Romney who said Jeep jobs were leaving Ohio and being moved to China. Romney has dug in on the ads, which have been widely debunked by automotive executives. His campaign staff insists the spots are accurate.
“Listen, this is not a game. These are people’s jobs. These are people’s lives,” Obama said. “The auto industry, they spend a lot of money advertising and branding, and letting folks know that we’re back and we’re here in America, and we’re making American cars with American workers. And now, suddenly, you’ve got a guy going out there saying something that’s not true?
“You don’t scare hardworking Americans just to scare up some votes,” he said. “That’s not what being President is about.”
Taking a page from his campaign pamphlet and the economic plan he outlined at the Democratic Convention, Obama hammered the point “this nation cannot succeed without a growing, thriving middle class — without sturdy ladders for folks who are working hard to get into the middle class.” He said this nation works best “when everybody is getting a fair shot, and everybody is doing their fair share, and everybody plays by the same rules.”
This nation and the free enterprise system works better when “the strivers and dreamers and the risk-takers who are the driving force behind our economy,” the president said. He noted economic growth and prosperity is created when “everybody has got a chance to succeed, when all our children are getting a decent education, when all our workers are learning new skills, when we support research in medical breakthroughs and new technologies.”
Obama compared the growth and prosperity under President Bill Clinton with the economic policies touted by Romney, which mirror the policies of President George W. Bush.
He noted at the end of Clinton’s two terms, America had created 23 million new jobs, incomes were up and poverty was down and the deficit became the biggest surplus in history. In the eight years under Bush, Obama said, “We tried giving big tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans. We tried giving insurance companies and oil companies and big Wall Street banks a free license to do whatever they pleased. We tried it. And what did we get? We got falling incomes, record deficits, the slowest job growth in half a century.”
Campaigning in 2008 with a message of change, Obama spoke of seeking real change in the next four years. He said he wants to cut the growth of college tuition in half during the next 10 years, to recruit 100,000 math and science teachers, to train 2 million Americans at the nation’s community colleges with the skills that businesses need now.
“In four days, you’ve got a choice to make — it’s not just a choice between two parties or two candidates,” Obama said. “It’s a choice between two different visions for America. It’s a choice between going back to the top-down policies that got us into this mess — or the middle-out, bottom-up strategies that have gotten us out of this mess and are going to keep us going.”
The president started his speech addressing the recent problems caused by Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast. While his heart goes out to the people who lost their lives, their homes and their livelihoods, he said he found inspiration in the fact Americans are so willing to help each other out.
With cities flooded by water and under siege from the sea, Republicans and Democrats came together to address the problems of these Americans.
“We see leaders of different parties working to fix what’s broken, not to score political points,” Obama said. “We see a spirit that says no matter how bad a storm is, no matter how tough times are, we’re going to make it because we’re all in this together.
“We rise or fall as one nation and as one people.”